Thursday, 30 July 2020

Small world

Watchet was lovely, but very busy, we didn't stay very long.  People generally were keeping their distance though, and lots wearing masks, even outside.

Sue, the bookshop hasn't been open since last year, it closes for the winter, and then Covid would have put paid to it reopening at Easter.  At the moment, the entire building where the bookshop is, is covered with scaffolding and boards, so clearly having a big renovation.  Whether the bookshop will still be there afterwards I have no idea - I hope so, I've bought books from there several times over the years.

Heather, yes I did see that picture, and Betty likes Cactus Jack too:-

...although she quickly loses interest when he doesn't make a fuss of her!  I took that photo a couple of years ago, she always makes a beeline for him.

Isn't it a small world?  Fancy 2 blog readers knowing about Watchet (although I think you live down here, Heather?), and of course Marlene comes from here too.

Got to go to town and pick up my new glasses tomorrow.  I don't need anything else in town so hopefully it will just be an in and out job...everywhere is noticeably busier at the mo with lots of holidaymakers around, who I have no desire to mingle with.

Not doing much at the mo, I don't really feel like it.  Made a couple of cards this morning (husband's out so it's nice and peaceful) and sorted some washing out to go on overnight - I always do it overnight on the cheap rate electricity.  Will do a tuna salad for lunch, then chop up a load of garden veg to go with the sticky sausages we're having for dinner.  Just low fat sausages which I'll drizzle with a tiny bit of honey and balsamic vinegar before roasting.  Not much of interest to write about, you must all be bored stiff!

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Bloody ticks

I've just noticed Betty's got another tick, a small one on her face.  She wouldn't let me remove it just now, she wriggled out of my grasp and ran away upstairs.  Will have to wait until later on this evening when she's calm and relaxed.  Or hopefully the tick medication from the vet might have made it drop off by then!  Horrible things, they're really prevalent this fact she's never had them prior to this year.

The lasagne made with slices of courgette instead of pasta was a success, we both loved it and I'll make it regularly now.  The cheesy sauce made with low fat yogurt, beaten eggs and a little extra mature Cheddar was really nice too.

Today we're having chicken, chorizo and garden veg stir fry, with ratatouille.  Husband's not all that keen on chorizo, but I'm only using a tiny bit - I like it as it gives a lot of flavour for a very small amount.  I've made the ratatouille already, I like it simmered slowly for a couple of hours, left and then reheated later, gives a great depth of flavour.  I've used red onion, red pepper, aubergine, mushrooms and courgettes, plus a tin of chopped tomatoes.  Added a squirt of tomato puree and a splosh each of Henderson's Relish and balsamic vinegar, along with some mixed herbs and garlic granules.

After lunch (mushroom omelette with salad), we're going to Watchet, a small pretty harbour town.  I feel the need to get out of the house and go for a stroll somewhere to clear my head and take my mind off things.

I hadn't made any cards for a while but have got back into it now, made an anniversary card for friends yesterday and a couple more on the go today.  I'll put pics on my card blog in due course.

Thank you for the nice comments on my garden pics, I'm really loving my garden this year, especially now Betty's stopped trampling on the flowers!  Although she did dig all the soil out of a pot the other day, it was waiting for a plant to be put in it so no damage done, other than soil scattered all over the patio, little monkey.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Food and flowers

I haven't done a food post for a real reason, just haven't bothered to write about it.

We're having a low carb week, as my gut is troubling me again and carbs, much as I like bread, chips, pasta etc, don't agree with me much.  (Incidentally, I'm not coeliac, I was tested for it a few years ago.  The conclusion was I'm more likely to have IBS, although I do have an intolerance to some foods).

Today I've made a low carb lasagne for dinner.  I've done a standard beef, tomato and herby mince, but instead of the lasagne pasta sheets I've used our own homegrown courgettes.  I sliced them lengthways then grilled them, to soften them up before layering with the mince.  For the cheese sauce layer, I've used low fat yogurt mixed with beaten eggs and a little grated extra mature Cheddar.  So it's kind of like a lasagne/moussaka cross.  We're having it with the first runner beans out of our garden, and my favourite tenderstem broccoli.

Some garden pictures:-

All very pink!

Monday, 27 July 2020

Mum's birthday, and hope.

It's Mum's birthday today, she would have been 84, it was the first thing on my mind when I woke up this morning.  We siblings have all exchanged messages this morning, we're all trying to keep positive by focusing on Mum's 60th birthday.  We had a combined birthday and retirement party for her in sister's back garden, arranged in secret, it was a lovely day.

As Mum and sis lived next door to each other, Mum would have seen the comings and goings and things being done, so we arranged for Mum's best friend (who was in on the secret) to take her out for the day.  Sis texted us when Mum had gone out and the coast was clear, and we all went round and set to decorating the garden and house and getting the food ready.  Mum was indeed surprised and very pleased, it was a memorable day.

We're all so glad Mum's not around in this Covid crisis - there's the fact that she'd have been heavily at risk of dying anyway if she caught the virus, especially since she was hospitalised for the last few weeks of her life and was in such poor health.  As it is, she died in relative comfort in a general ward, not hooked up to a ventilator and numerous other machines in intensive care and gasping for breath, as she would have been had she had the virus.  Had she been alive now, she wouldn't have been allowed any visitors whilst in hospital and Mum would have absolutely hated that - she had many friends and had lots of visitors every day whilst in hospital, it was one of the things that kept her going through her last weeks.

I heard some medical expert (I forget who) the other day saying there may never be an effective vaccine developed for Covid-19 - there still isn't one for things like malaria and AIDS even after all these years.  And although we do have vaccines for flu, it hasn't been eradicated at all, there are so many different strains of it and it mutates all the time - which Covid is apparently already doing.  I must admit that hadn't occurred to me, it's a frightening thought that Covid may be around for many years to come with no vaccine to prevent catching it.  But there are huge medical advances coming all the time, I prefer to be optimistic and believe that sooner or later (hopefully sooner) there will be a vaccine, and there will be a cure for cancer.  We HAVE to have hope, or we may as well just give up and die.  I survive on hope, for many things.

Thursday, 23 July 2020

A nice end to a bad day

Thank you all for the recent kind comments.

After a very bad morning yesterday, which i'm not going into any details about, we had a very nice ending.

We have a fridge freezer in the kitchen and in the utility room a large upright freezer, another small freezer which I keep homemade dog food in, and a spare under worktop fridge which I use for drinks and dairy stuff bought on special offers with long dates.  Well, that fridge (which is old anyway) has given up the ghost this week, it's no longer staying cold and every time I open the door there's a pool of water on the shelves.  We can't really afford a new one so I looked on our Facebook local neighbourhood page to see if anyone was selling a cheap second-hand one.  Bingo - a lady was advertising one for free!  From the photo it looked almost brand it's gone, I thought.  Well it wasn't, and the lady said we could come collect it yesterday evening.  It's lovely, a damn sight better than our old one and in beautiful nearly new and very clean condition.  The lady wouldn't take any money for it but gladly accepted a jar of my homemade blackcurrant jam, which she squealed over and said was her favourite flavour (that was lucky then!).  What a nice lady - well, couple, her husband was equally nice.

They live in the most perfect place - a gorgeous big house with lovely terraced large garden on the bank of a really pretty reservoir, it was so picturesque and peaceful I could have sat there quite happily for days.  Well, for the rest of my life actually.  If I ever won the lottery (which we don't even do so it won't happen), I'd offer them a lot of money for that house.

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Get lost

After another spate of bitchy comments from the usual faceless and nameless cowards, I've decided I'm not allowing anonymous comments to get through anymore.  Apologies to genuine readers who don't have Google accounts.  Life's too short to put up with nasty mean-spirited twats who can't even be bothered to read posts properly and just want to cause trouble.  Well you're not doing it on my blog, so off you pop.

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Screaming inside

Our lives have been dominated by health problems recently - physical, mental and stress related.  Husband has suffered from excessive tiredness ever since being diagnosed with heart failure, he usually falls asleep within minutes of sitting down in the evenings (after putting on some rubbish on tv that I'm not remotely interested in).  Although I think that's a general man thing anyway 😒.  But for the past few weeks it's been much more prevalent, it's now every time he sits down, whatever time of day.  And any physical work tires him out quickly.  He says he feels alright other than the tiredness, but feels he's not getting enough sleep (despite dropping off whenever he sits down!).  He reckons he's awake a lot during the night....I know he does wake up more often than he used to (he's always been a good sleeper, unlike me), but goes back to sleep within minutes, although claims to lie awake for ages.  (Funnily enough he never seems to be awake when I'm lying there awake for literally hours!).

He's been having increasing pain with his feet lately - he has damaged tendons caused, the consultant said, by wearing rigid steel toecapped work boots for years.  He needs an operation to break and reset the tendons, which means he'll be on crutches and unable to drive for 6 weeks. He actually had the op scheduled for last year but had to postpone it due to his repeated UTI and prostate problems.  Now that's under control, he can go ahead with the foot thing, he's got an appointment with his consultant on the 27th, although has been told that the op may not now be for several months, due to the covid situation.

With my new health problem, I had a phone consultation with a specialist, she gave me her opinion of what was causing the problem but said I needed a scan and tests for a firm diagnosis. When I rang the Choose and Book line for an appointment, however, I was told that they're not accepting any new referrals and thus couldn't give me an appointment at all and would unfortunately just have to wait.  Meaning I have no diagnosis and therefore no treatment and just have to manage on my own as best I can.  Last Friday, out of the blue, a letter arrived with an appointment for 12 August - an actual real face to face hospital appointment.  So things are progressing, finally.  It's not for a scan or tests though, just a chat with another consultant.

The covid situation affects us all in different ways.  For me, it's my mental health that's suffering, in a big way, I am finding it so very hard to cope with not seeing friends and family.  Yes I know restrictions are lifting and we can see people socially distanced in our gardens, and even indoors in some circumstances.  But when your friends and family don't live on your doorstep, and your own circumstances mean you can't travel for hours to see them, or they can't (or won't) come to you, it's bloody hard to cope with.  And if one more person says to me "well at least you're alive, many aren't" I think I'll scream.

Stress and anxiety is playing havoc with my digestive system and bowels, I've hardly been able to leave the house recently and haven't managed one single night staying in bed the whole night for weeks.  We did go out yesterday for a few hours, to Dunster beach, where I know the toilets are now open every day, thankfully.  That wasn't without drama though, we had a near miss on the way when some idiot almost crashed into my side of the car, leaving me shaking with nerves, and Betty's lead somehow came off at one point on the beach (we weren't letting her off the lead in that particular area as there were too many other dogs around).  Fortunately she did come back when called.

Sunday, 19 July 2020


Just some quotes today, in no particular order:-

And finally....some Betty baby pics for a smile:-

6 months old

The day we got her, 21/12/2016

Thursday, 16 July 2020


Marlene (PoppyPatchwork) says on her blog today "we need contact and interaction with other people to make our lives complete".  Oh yes.  And not just virtual.  I'm finding it incredibly hard not having that real contact.

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Goodbye hair

I don't like the longer hair, I'm getting it chopped off.   It's one of the very few things that feels like I'm in control of at the moment.  I'm sick of being in pain, and feeling like I don't matter.

Saturday, 11 July 2020

Hot and sweaty, bras and hair

I've been in the garden for an hour, pruning, weeding and deadheading, it's like a jungle out there.  Me and the dog have had to come in for a while, too hot already for us.  Betty's flaked out on the sofa fast asleep, I envy her (and husband's!) ability to fall asleep instantly.  Although husband's is heart failure and medication induced, so perhaps I don't envy him after all.

The knicker/bra hunt was partly successful, got armfuls of knickers but only one bra....I'm fussy about bras.  Having big boobs which need plenty of support doesn't mean I want something that looks like a mediaeval torture instrument or straitjacket.  I still want them to look pretty, but have enough support that my boobs don't rest on my stomach.  Incidentally, whilst in the shopping centre (which thankfully wasn't very busy), I saw a woman much bigger than me but a couple of decades younger who clearly wasn't wearing a bra at all 😳, I'm presuming she couldn't find one to fit comfortably, if at all.  I was torn between feeling sympathy for her and being horrified - she was certainly attracting a lot of attention and sniggering, from both men and women. Although she seemed oblivious to it all.  Sympathy won out, poor thing.  She was certainly braver than me.

It was lovely to have my hair cut yesterday.  I'd decided, after a lot of thought, to grow my hair a bit longer, but wanted to discuss it with my friend/neighbour/hairdresser H first, as she knows my hair so well.  She reckons it's doable.  So instead of chopping it all off to my usual short spiky cut, she just trimmed and shaped it and put in lots of layers.  I want a layered shaggy style just past shoulder length, I showed H some pics on my tablet, the length isn't there yet but will be in a few weeks.  She blow dried it for me to demonstrate how it's done (I don't usually bother with that).  The end result was much more structured and manicured looking than I liked - hairdressers just love to keep fiddling and doing a bit more!  I prefer the 'just got out of bed' look 😂.  But I'm sure when I do it myself it'll be fine....will find out later!

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Ants and pants

It's been flying ant week here this week....well, 2 days at the start of the week. I'd noticed quite a few ants in the hallway, when husband investigated he found a huge nest underneath a slab outside the front door.  Hundreds of the little buggers, including flying ones. There was another, bit smaller nest under my rotary line. Well I can't abide the things so husband liberally applied ant powder underneath the slabs (sorry Briony but it was me or them!) and we kept Betty in away from the powder....not that she takes much notice of ants anyway.  They're all gone now, thankfully.

Going to Weston this afternoon to buy some new underwear, which i'm very in need of.  Online ordering is all very well, but I like to see and feel the quality of things, especially underwear.  It'll be the first time we've been to the big indoor shopping centre since before lockdown, we'll be wearing masks of course but I just hope it won't be too busy.  If it is then we'll leave.

A pub in Burnham on Sea has been on the national news this week, it reopened for the first time last Saturday, then promptly had to close again couple of days later when a customer tested positive for Covid.  Not really a huge surprise.  Burnham's about 25 mins or so drive away from us and we've not been there for several months. Never been in that pub either, so I don't think we're in any danger.  Another 2 businesses the customer had been in (an Indian takeaway or restaurant and a vape bar - I don't even know what that is! 😂) also had to temporarily close for deep cleaning.  You do wonder how long all this is going to go on.

Saturday, 4 July 2020

Good things

One thing I've been concerned about recently is my eyesight, I'm aware that my vision has deteriorated and my eyes seem a bit blurry sometimes.  Being diabetic I have a retinopathy eye check at the hospital every year....I was due to go in early April but of course it was cancelled, and they're still not doing clinics.  My normal 2-yearly sight test at the opticians is also overdue, I should have gone last December but cancelled due to Mum's illness and didn't rebook, and then of course it wasn't possible anyway for the past few months.  

However, this week I had an email from the opticians saying they were now open again, with strict appointment only and safety precautions in place, so decided it would be prudent to go - at least they do a basic retinopathy check, even if it isn't as good as the hospital one.  I rang to make an appointment, they had a bit of a waiting list but they did have a cancellation for today, Saturday, so I took it.  On reflection, today probably wasn't the best day to choose, with so many businesses reopening and it being a Saturday, we don't normally go out anywhere on weekends as there are always more people about.

The town was quite busy, much more so than I felt comfortable with, and hardly anybody was wearing a mask (I was).  I didn't stop anywhere, just walked quickly to the opticians, giving people a wide berth.  Fortunately, the opticians was almost empty, they're not allowing walk-ins or browsers.  All the staff were wearing full PPE (masks, plastic visors, gloves and aprons) and all equipment is fully cleaned between customers, so I felt quite reassured.  

My mother had macular degeneration (wet in one eye, dry in the other) and was virtually blind in one eye and had only limited sight in the other.  Both she and my sister had/have cataracts, so both things are also a worry for me.  Fortunately, it seems I have no sign of cataracts, and no definite macular degeneration or retinopathy, however, the optician said there is a bit of shadowing at the back of one eye which could possibly be the start of MD or retinopathy, but said it's too early to tell yet.  He did advise me to go for the hospital eye check as soon as I'm able to, though.  However, he said there is a major change (a surprisingly big one in his words) in the vision in my left eye, to do with my astigmatism and the axis apparently...he did explain but it all went over my head.  (I knew there was a definite difference with my eyesight!).  Anyway, the upshot is I definitely need new glasses.  I decided not to hang around and choose a pair today - there were a few more people in the shop by then, and in any case funds are still very low after our very expensive June.  I'll get them in due course.

The other good thing is that I'm having my hair cut on Friday.  My hairdresser, who lives 2 doors away, has a small salon with its own entrance at the side of her house, so I won't need to go inside her home.  I'm to wash my hair at home just before I go, and both of us will be wearing masks, she'll also be wearing gloves and an apron.  I'm her only customer booked in for that day anyway (she only does a few regular customers nowadays as she's semi-retired).  Funnily enough, although I normally have my hair short and have it cut every 6 weeks or so, as it's grown during lockdown I'm actually quite liking it longer.  So I'm in 2 minds as to whether to have it cut short again in my usual style, or just go for a trim and shape and keep growing it.  I'll have a think about it between now and Friday, and discuss it with H then.

Friday, 3 July 2020

Depression, stress and anxiety

This is likely to be seen as a moaning post, so feel free to stop reading now!  And I'll be turning the comment facility off for this post, I'm not looking for sympathy.  This is more for getting things off my chest and organising my thoughts.

Recently I've had several people tell me, in real life and virtual, something along the lines of I should be grateful that I'm still alive, many people aren't.  Although I never say it, my first thought is always how presumptuous of them to tell me how I should be feeling.  We all cope in different ways, we're not all clones!  And, unless we choose to tell all, nobody knows what another person is going through, or what's going on in their lives.  I certainly don't reveal everything, not on here (why would I on a blog that could be read by any amount of people I don't even know?) and not even to friends and family, for lots of reasons.

I suffer from depression - not all the time, 24/7, but it does creep up on me and take me over, sometimes just for a few days, sometimes weeks.  That's clinical depression, as diagnosed by my doctor.  It's not feeling a bit down, and it can't be cured by a kick up the backside or 'pulling myself together' (it's a chemical imbalance in the brain, so how can that work?!).  Mine is reactive depression (there are different types of depression), meaning it comes about as a reaction to things that have happened.

Right now I am depressed, stressed and full of anxiety, and there are many reasons for that, a lot is and has been going on in my life, it's not just the Covid situation which is affecting us all hugely.  

I have a new health problem which started 3 or 4 months ago, I was seen by my GP who referred me to a hospital specialist.  I had a phone consultation with the specialist (surprisingly quickly actually), who said I need a scan and tests and referral to a different department, she had to get back to my GP for him to make the different referral.  Owing to some kind of mix up, he then referred me to the wrong department, causing another delay whilst he got in touch with the right one.  To cut a long story short (other things went on too resulting in yet more delays), this week I rang to make an appointment for the scan and tests, knowing that it was likely to be a long wait due to the Covid situation.  However, I was then told that they're not accepting any new referrals and therefore cannot make me an appointment, even for the distant future.  I'm on their list and simply have to wait for them to get in touch with me.

This problem impacts my life every day, some days worse than others.  I have no diagnosis and therefore no treatment, and no idea when it might be forthcoming.  I'm simply left to manage it on my own.

There's other stuff going on too - husband's health and family stuff which I'm not going into, car trouble and other things.  I just feel buried under a mountain of problems.  I struggle every day to put a brave face on and get on with things and not 'self destroy' (an accusation that was flung at me recently by someone with no empathy whatsoever), but there are times when I either want to stay in bed with the quilt pulled up over my head to shut the world out, or I don't want to go to bed at night because the night time is when my brain goes into overdrive and everything is magnified.  It takes an incredible amount of strength for me to get through each day without giving in and falling to pieces, and some people just don't realise that.

I will get through this, nothing lasts forever, I know that.  It's just difficult to remember it at the time the shit is happening.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

In the doghouse

I forgot it was my friend's birthday yesterday and didn't ring or text them.  I had already made and sent a card - another mistake, I sent it a week too early - I didn't get the date of their birthday wrong, I knew it was the 30th, I just got the date wrong on the day I sent it, I looked at the wrong date on the calendar.  If you see what I mean.  I'm confusing myself.

I've made several mistakes recently, more than the usual 'blonde' stuff.  I can only put it down to having a lot on my mind and not sleeping at all well.  Or it's rapid onset dementia!  Which my mum had.  It's her birthday this month, another thing on my mind.  There have been several days lately when grief has smacked me in the face and I've sat and cried.